Knowing fallen arches symptoms can be handy when you suspect yourself from suffering from the issue. The condition may not be dangerous but it may affect some physical and athletic performance of yours. Knowing the condition, symptoms, and possible solutions can help especially if your physical trait is quite important for you.
A Little About The Fallen Arch
Have you ever taken a look at the sole of your foot? You should see a curved arched spot right before the heel. This is a common arch that most people have. However, the fallen arch is the condition when you don’t have this curved arch.
Also known as the flat foot, this fallen arch is called the pes planus. Not many people know that there are actually different kinds of the fallen arch. When you stand up and the arch is flattened, but it goes back to the original curved spot when you lift your foot from the ground, it is called the flexible flatfoot or rigid pes planus.
If the arch is gone in any position (whether you are sitting or standing, or the feet are elevated), then it is called the rigid flatfoot or rigid pes planus.
Naturally, there are different fallen arches symptoms and treatments for these two conditions, so be sure that you know the differences.
The flexible pes planus is normal when happens to young kids. They aren’t born with the normal arch just yet. It has to grow and form, which takes time in between the age of 7 (in some it may be 8) and 10. 25% of adults still have the flexible flatfoot.
If you find that you have the same problem, and you don’t experience any symptoms or whatsoever, then it is quite normal.
In most cases, adults that have had this issue since childhood may experience genetic heritage where they suffer from a certain ligament looseness.
Not only they are super flexible, their overall body joints are quite mobile. If you develop the symptoms after you reach adulthood (you previously have normal arch), then it is possible that your flexible flatfoot issue is caused by neuropathy (a nerve function disorder) or a certain joint disease (rheumatoid arthritis).
The Special Case with Rigid Flatfoot
Whereas flexible pes planus may develop from a certain genetic trait, the rigid flatfoot is generally the result of problems that affect the bones alignment or structure on the foot arch. What are the most common causes of the rigid flatfoot?
- Congenital vertical talus. If you have this, it means that the bones of your foot aren’t properly aligned. Instead of a normal arch, you find a reverse curve. This condition is pretty rare and it is already existing since birth. The main cause if genetic disorder.
- Peroneal spastic flatfoot or tarsal coalition. Unlike the previous condition, the foot bones are likely fused together. Because of it, the foot’s flexibility is compromised and it results in the normal arch being gone. Just like the previous condition, it is a pretty rare condition and often happens to several generations within the same family.
- Acquired flatfoot or lateral subtalar dislocation. As the name suggests, the talus bone (which is on the foot arch) is dislocated. In most cases, the bone slips out from its place, dropping downward and then sideways, and it causes the arch to collapse. This is common in high impact injury when someone is involved in an accident (generally motor cycle), falls from a height, or being injured from a sport activity. It is also common when related to other injuries or fractures.
The Common Symptom
In the flexible flatfoot (both happening to adults and kids), symptoms are rarely heard or reported. But you should observe their toes because the toes have the tendency to point outward – a condition that is getting visible as they walk.
However, when someone develops symptoms, it may include aching and tired feet, especially when they have to walk or stand for prolonged time.
In the rigid flatfoot, the symptoms may vary depending on the core of the issue, such as:
- Congenital vertical talus. The symptoms may include heavy calluses happening on the soles (which the arch should be located), poor balance, and awkward peg leg gait. If a kid is suffering from this issue because of a genetic disorder, you should be able to find other symptoms on their other body parts.
- Tarsal coalition. In most cases, the people who have this condition develop no symptoms. You can confirm the problem only through X-Ray. In most cases, people discover that they suffer from this issue by accidents. They have another medical condition that requires them to undergo the X-Ray examination. From the X-Ray, they find out about the issue. In the event that you suffer from the symptoms, it usually involves a pain happening on the rear and outside of your foot. The pain then spread upward, go to the outer ankle, and then to the outside area of the lower leg. According to fallen arches symptoms Mayo Clinic, it is possible for the symptoms to start appearing during the teen years. When they are involved in sports or having to walk on the uneven ground, it can be aggravated. If you suffer from quite often ankle sprains, you should have yourself checked.
- Lateral subtalar dislocation. Since this issue happens because of traumatic injury, the foot may be deformed or swollen – these are pretty obvious. It is also possible that the injury is accompanied by bleeding open wound and bruising.
Further Diagnosis and Checking
If you suspect your kids or even yourself from having the fallen arches symptoms issue, you should go to the doctor. It is possible that you will have to go through several examinations. Aside from asking for family history and health history, doctor may also ask about recreational and occupation activities.
They can determine whether your issue is related to the recreational activities or your work. In most cases, people don’t even know that they have the problems because they experience no pain or discomfort.
However, if you suffer from continuous and recurring pain – which may affect your daily comfort and prevent you from walking – you should go to the doctor, immediately.
In flexible flatfoot, no treatment is needed when there are no symptoms. However, when it happens to toddler older than 3 years old, doctor may suggest the kid from using a special therapeutic shoe insert.
It is made from the corrective shoe mold. It is also possible to use an arch support. Its major function is to deal with the imbalance issue as well as supporting the arch in a better manner.
In rigid flatfoot, again, the treatments depend on the cause. So, here are some of the alternatives for the fallen arches symptoms:
- Congenital vertical talus. If you want to try the inexpensive system, try the casting. Basically, you place the foot in a cast. But you have to change the cast quite often to gradually reposition your foot. Be advised, though, that this manner has a pretty low chance of success. In the end, people turn to surgery so they can correct the issue.
- Tarsal coalition. The treatments are pretty complicated because it depends on various different factors, including the severity of the issue, the bone fusion extent and condition, and also your age. If the case is mild, support wrap straps, shoe insert, of foot cast is possible. However, if the problem is quite severe, surgery is needed to improve the foot flexibility and relieve the pain.
- Lateral subtalar dislocation. Since the bone is dislocated, the purpose is to return it to the original position – and soon enough. If there is no open wound, doctor can push the bone back to its place, and the procedure can be done without any incision but it is possible to use anesthesia. After the treatment is done, your foot will be wrapped in a cast for at least 4 weeks. It will stabilize the joints. However, if the problem is pretty severe, surgery is needed – which is happening to around 20% cases of the dislocated bones.
In flexible flatfeet, kids who don’t develop symptoms are able to grow as adults without any complaints or issues. However, if they do have symptoms or complaints, shoe modification is generally enough to alleviate the discomfort. It won’t be able to provide permanent solution but it should be enough.
In rigid flatfeet, it depends on the problem.
- Congenital vertical talus. Surgery may be able to correct the poor bones alignment but many kids have underlying issues related to muscle weakness or such thing alike.
- Tarsal coalition. The success of the surgery depends on many things, including the proper care after the surgery.
- Lateral subtalar dislocation. When the treatment is properly administered, recovery is possible – and without any disability or long term complication. It is common to experience a certain stiffness but it shouldn’t be a problem when it doesn’t cause walking difficulty or pain.
Knowing the fallen arches symptoms can help you determine the right treatment and common facts related to your issue.